Lake Towada is beautiful yet eerie and mystical. We may not be in Scotland, but I was convinced that the Loch Ness Monster was going to come up through this fog at any moment. We visited in August so it was a bit chilly and obviously rainy. Lake Towada is known for its natural exhibition of the four seasons. It would be perfect during autumn / maple season! We would love to check it out again on a sunny day.Read More
Who knew that rice paddy fields could be a piece of art?! This blew our minds. These fields were planted with different kinds of rice to create ginormous elaborate artwork. (You can see a person walking on the road as an example of a scale in the photo block below.) Each year, they have a different design or scene, plant the rice then reap the harvest when it's time. They did Star Wars one year and this year they have two separate Japanese scenes. The field pictured above was inspired by the Japanese folklore, "Momotaro," which means "peach boy." It was so interesting!! We read that the entire village partakes in planting and reaping. It really gives a new meaning to, "It takes a village."Read More
We were so excited to take Mia Kai on her first trip to Japan! She loved it and the people there loved her! She made instant friends as soon as we arrived in the airport. We stayed in an apartment rather than a hotel so we learned quite a bit more about Japan than we did last time. For instance, they have an incredibly strict and organized trash system. They are serious about recycling, and we are now an official recycling family because of it. Here's a sample of what our trash schedule looked like...Read More
I can't believe it took us so long to find this hike! We read about it in the Kaua'i Traveler magazine and immediately planned to venture out to the Sleeping Giant on JD's first day off. It was worth every step. I'm pretty sure this was one of our first big hikes since Mia Kai was born so we started off with the easier trails. JD carried our GoPro Hero5 Black and backpack (which weighed quite a bit more than MK at the time) and I carried Mia Kai in our Ergo. Whew! We were obsessing over the giant canopy of trees we were walking under at the beginning of the hike!Read More
When the parking lot was full for Secret Beach, we improvised. Our main goal was to find a secluded beach with shade somewhere around that area so that we wouldn't lose much time. I'll be honest. I have no recollection of what this beach was actually called. But I can give you a description of how we got there! We parked at a condo parking lot near the St. Regis in Princeville, walked down a small path to this outlook...Read More
Kauai has some of the best hiking we've ever experienced. JD always researches the coolest hikes and this one was no different. There were zero waterfalls (which is high on the criteria list for a great hike) but the views were amazing and inspiring! And we also love a good tree tunnel. I especially loved the giant ferns uncurling to bask in the sun. Sometimes I wonder if Dr. Seuss hiked through Hawaii for inspiration. Seriously. The fauna here is remarkable.Read More
As of today, we've flown a total of 20+ times with our baby, which certainly does not qualify us as experts but we wanted to share our experiences with you nonetheless! Each flight has been different, ranging from near perfect to pretty awful. Most of them have been fairly decent though. We first flew with Mia Kai when she was around four months old. The following list of baby travel essentials has helped us to maintain our sanity.
Necessary things such as diapers, wipes, bibs, burp cloths, bottles, baby food, etc. are not mentioned in the list.
Please keep in mind that what works for us may not work for you, and vice versa, so please share your favorite travel essentials and suggestions below in the comment section as well!Read More
This has been a huge month of 'firsts' for Mia Kai.
Her four month check-up was at the beginning of the month. She weighed 12 lbs, 5 oz (10th percentile) and measured 21" long (5th percentile for height). In other words, she's still very dainty and 'petite'. Eczema has been an issue so we had to switch from my favorite Baby Aveeno products to CeraVe. The creases in between her feet and ankles were especially dry so we had to lotion them up with Cortizone.
Highlights of this month: First flight // first trip to Hawaii // first time sitting up unsupported // first time eating food (rice cereal) // first diaper rash (from Butt Paste!! What?! We used Desitin and it was healed by the next morning) // first time to church (we were advised not to take her during her first few months, especially before and right after her surgery) // first time dipping her toes into the ocean // first trip to the zoo // first time sitting in a high chair.Read More
If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 41:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
This is a story about a time where we stood among a crowd of people mesmerized by the huge waterfalls flowing from a cliff into a pool. We stood among the onlookers on the road that looked down below, searching for a way to get down to the pool for a closer look and a quick swim. After much investigation and reading through our handy Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, we found the fence and Hazardous Cliff signs blocking the trail down to the falls. So we did what any adventure-craving, crazy person would do: trekked around the fence and hazard signs, scooted down the rocks and dirt while holding onto a couple of the ropes that guided us through the mud without losing our shoes, and enjoyed the luxuries of nature at the bottom of the falls.
This is also a story of our Father's faithfulness. I look at the photos of these waterfalls, carving out the edge of the rocks into an eroded overhang. Rocks, to me, seem like the steadiest of all natural creation. Together, they form hills and mountains. They are solid - literally rock steady. Because of their fortitude, we barely see their changes due to other natural elements. But they do change. Over time, they change.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
But our Father doesn't change. He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His love for His children will not and cannot be shaken, regardless of time and situations. His covenant of peace to us, the covenant of salvation, will not and cannot be removed. He is a Father who overflows with compassion for His children. And we don't even have to trek through mud and slide down mountains holding onto ropes to find Him. That is peace.
We set out pretty early to embark on our hike to the Hanakapi'ai Trail on a Saturday morning (which is on the other side of the island). It took about an hour to drive there (the speed limit on most of the island is around 25 mph). We were already a little behind schedule when we drove up to a road block about 20 minutes out from the trailhead.
The super polite police officer came to our window and said, "Sorry but we've got a marathon going on this morning. It'll be about another hour before we open the roads back up."
It's a small island. It's not like we could find another road to get to the trailhead. So we had to change our plans. JD searched on his phone for a tourist hot spot and drove us to Queen's Bath in Princeville. After you hike down the trail, people typically take a left at the waterfall... But we're rebels and went to the right.
Prepare yourselves, friends, because this is what we saw: An absolute masterpiece of powerful waves, amazing contrast in every shade of blue you can think of, and a pattern of tide that will both mesmerize you and blow your mind.
*Disclaimer: If you go to this side of the waterfall, please be careful. Any of those waves could've taken us out real quick. JD is a pretty good judge of the tides so we were able to dodge the incoming waves. But just be careful, okay? Promise?
This photo was taken on JD's iPhone using the panoramic setting. We realize that the photo is a little distorted but I didn't even want to touch this amazing photo with Photoshop. With fierce pride, I say, "My husband took this photo in all of its perfection, untouched by any editing program."
Oddly enough, none of these photos are actually of Queen's Bath. One thing about JD and me: We're not huge on snorkeling. It's cool but we'd rather take photos of giant powerful waves crashing against rocks than look at fish through goggles. And to be totally honest with you: My breathing patterns aren't exactly 'patterns' when I snorkel (I kind of freak out and have trouble breathing through that little tube). However, our friends snorkeled around in Queen's Bath later that afternoon and absolutely loved it. So it you're out there and enjoy snorkeling, go for it!! But don't miss the intense wave action happening on the other side of the waterfall.